The M&M Guide To Meditation

The essential two-step guide every city-dweller needs 

So you thought meditation was just for hippies and monks? You couldn’t be more wrong. The practice of mindfulness meditation has been proved to help ease depression, stress and insomnia, which are all common side effects of a busy lifestyle. It has also been seen to improve memory, self-control, academic performance and focus; among many other physical benefits.  People who meditate are generally happier, more relaxed and tend to savour life.

The purpose of meditation is to help you pay attention and really be present in the moment, so that you can understand yourself better. It is a simple habit, which can be perfected with practice. It can bring up painful memories as you learn how to face the root of the issue and channel that energy into focus, which can take discipline. The trick is to avoid trying to stop these negative thoughts and instead focusing on the physical feelings these emotions bring; guiding your concentration back to your breathing.

Firstly, sit up straight in an alert position. Ensure that you are sitting comfortably, in a quiet space. It is important that your spine is straight, as your mind and body are intertwined; if your body feels balanced your mind will too.

Next, focus on your breathing; nurturing a curiosity about all the sensations this creates. It may help to count as you feel the breath travelling through your body. Walking meditation is another useful method of mindfulness, which teaches you to pay attention to the soles of your feet as you walk. The idea is that breath symbolizes life and feet symbolize being grounded to reality; so in essence you are focusing on life itself and becoming more attune with yourself. This process can take anything from two minutes to an hour, depending on what feels most comfortable.

Mindfulness is a Buddhist concept that was created as a key aspect of tackling the suffering that Buddhists believe characterizes life. It eases the habit of clinging to things and issues that make life more difficult, when you let go of these external factors the internal suffering ends. Christian beliefs are similar in the way they believe that Saint Augustine inflicted a “restless heart” on human beings to give them the urge to discover the source of life, which lies in God/love. Secular views also concur in their belief that inner peace comes from tackling the causes of suffering head on.

So there you have it, the miracle cure to our modern state of restlessness. Take some time out of your day to do something for you with these two simple steps. No ‘ummmm’-ing or uncomfortable leg bending necessary.

A healthy mind is also aided by a healthy diet, for some tips on how to incorporate clean eating into your busy lifestyle click the link.

Meditation was created through Buddhist principles and adapted by different beliefs over the years, but what do you believe in? Is religion still important?

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